Again! Soldiers assault woman and damage her car in Edo – Just 19 days after a group of Nigerian soldiers mercilessly flogged about 500 women who were protesting the sale of a land that has been in dispute between Delta and Edo states, another story has emerged involving a 51-year-old woman, Joy Agboghide, who was ruthlessly dealt with by some Nigerian soldiers on Monday for supposedly causing a hitch in the movement of vehicles on Forestry Lane, Benin, Edo State.
The incident which was said to have taken place at about 4 in the evening, just in front of the headquarters of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company, BEDC, featured a military officer, a Major, who came out of the electricity company and ordered Mrs. Joy to reverse her car in order to ease the movement of vehicles on the narrow road.
According to Punch, sources reported that Joy, who is a mother of 6 children, however, tried to make the soldier understand that she had allowed about 5 cars to pass initially as a result of the random way in which people parked their vehicles on the road. A heated argument ensued between the duo when despite the woman’s explanation, the soldier still forcefully demanded that she must reverse her vehicle.
Angered by the turn of events, the soldier returned to the premises of BEDC only to return shortly after with some soldiers attached to the company and gave them an order to beat up the woman.
Following the injuries she sustained as a result of being manhandled by the Force men, Mrs. Agboghide was rushed to the Central Hospital in Benin where she is receiving treatment.
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Giving her own account of the story, Mrs. Joy later spoke to Punch correspondents saying,
“I went to Lagos Street to get some food items. So, I passed through Forestry (Lane) to the road beside former NEPA. As I was going, the driver of the vehicle in front of me and some traders around told me to stop. I stopped and about four vehicles passed. Later, the traders told me to go.
“As I moved on, a soldier told me to reverse and I explained that I had waited for some vehicles to pass. But he said, ‘Do you know who you are talking to? Reverse!’ Before I knew it, he used his gun to hit my windscreen.
“I came out and asked him what I had done and he said I should wait. He went into the BEDC premises and came out with some soldiers who descended on me.
“He said they should clear me off the road. But as he tried to enter his vehicle, I pulled him and told him to pay for the damage done to my car.”
Joy Agboghide also claimed that she was physically attacked by a woman said to be the wife of the Army officer. She said,
“As the man jumped inside his vehicle and tried to drive off, I hit his windscreen. He came down and damaged my windscreen and the rear screen.
“Suddenly, he came out with a whip and beat me. The lady inside the vehicle also sprayed tear gas into my eyes.”
Captain Jonah Unuakhalu, spokesperson for the 4th Brigade Command of the Nigerian Army, however told correspondents that the officer in question was not in the Army. He said, “He is a Nigerian Air Force officer. But we are investigating”.
It is only natural for people to oppose intimidation but the experiences of many innocent Nigerians in the hands of these military guys have thought me that no matter how right you are, obeying their orders will only save you some body pains and money you would have spent in the hospital, that’s if you are lucky to stay alive after the encounter. Arguing with any Force officer is always an effort in futility, so don’t you think it’s wisdom to resist the urge to prove you’re right and simply walk away?
However, There’s an urgent need for the government to direct their attention to this increasing menace of soldiers assaulting harmless civilians.